Thursday, June 19, 2003

I blew off work to do yoga today. I wasn't seeing patients. I was scheduled to meet with a partner of mine and a statistician to discuss a research project that we're working on. We were all supposed to get together from 9 to 11. I had originally planned on going to pranayama at 6 AM then maybe the Improv class at 7 AM and then show up for the meeting a little late. When I thought about it last night, I realized that the improv class was going to be overcrowded with teacher trainees. Given the choice of either the improv class or mysore class, I definitely preferred going to mysore Those are the postures I really need to be working on. The research project is actually my partner's, though I have had an important role in the development of the program and in the patient care. At this stage of the project, after all the patient care has been done and we're down to massaging data, there is not a lot for me to do. Knowing how little is ever accomplished in those kind of meetings, I decided to blow it off all together. I probably irritated him a bit but he knows I'm not real interested in the research and publishing rigmarole.

So, I had the morning free for yoga. Pranayama was a bit harder than yesterday. It felt like the duration of the respirations were longer but the retentions were still fairly short. Maybe I was just off today. I had a three or four times where I went to the well for some extra air.

I decided to watch the Improv class rather than drive home and come right back for mysore. The class is attended by Tim's more advanced students. Tim tends to do a lot of second and third series postures in this class. He'll also do some postures that you wouldn't see in most yoga classes of any kind, much less in ashtanga classes. Even with his more advanced students, there's only 2 or 3 people in the room who are capable of doing everything he covers, and one of them is him. It is a good challenge for everybody. Normally, the class size is about 20 to 25. As expected, today's class was packed. I counted 41 mats. At least half of them were teacher trainees, some of them fairly advanced, some not very. When asked what they wanted to go over in class, ambitious souls that they were, the group asked for arm balances. I picked a good class to observe rather than do. I usually stick out in a class like that but today I would have blended right in. Everybody struggled. I can't remember for sure but I think he did seven or eight balances, maybe a couple more, with two variations for each one. After popping everybody's expertise bubbles, he moved on thru the rest of the class. He did some forearm inversions, some unusual twists, some hip work and a few back bends. He covered the usual areas but in unusual ways.

After watching the carnage in the Improv class, I set my mat and jumped right into my mysore practice. I was very motivated today. I almost never get to go to mysore, so when I do, it almost becomes a mini-event for me. I felt very good in my postures. The practice flowed without rough spots. I remember a couple of different times thinking, "Wow, I'm already at so-and-so pose." I wasn't expecting many adjustments with so many people who don't normally come being present and I didn't get many. Tim helped me into a deeper than typical (for me) kapotasana. If anyone touched me before that, I just don't remember it. After backbends and assisted dropbacks, Tim gave me an absolute squash in paschimottanasna. I didn't feel a hint of resistance in my hamstrings or back. That felt good. When I was doing backbends, I managed to get my weight off of my palms and up as far as me being able to get to my finger tips. Not anywhere close to standing up, but it was icing on the cake for me. I had never before been able to get my palms off of the floor. I was telling my wife about my breakthru after class and she just laughed at me. She assured me that I was no where near to standing up. I was then given a list of things I need to do before I can even think about standing up. Yeah, Yeah. First things first.

After class, I had enough time before heading to work to sit at Starbucks and savor my good fortune over an iced tea and danish. Getting to go to mysore, having a good practice, making advancements, even if they are incremental..., no matter what happens the rest of the day, I've scored. Surgery this afternoon, though it was a difficult case, was a breeze. Now, how do I manage to do this again?

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